• johned@aibi.ph

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Eternity 29 - The Inner Man

(Romans 7:22 NASB) For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
(2 Corinthians 4:16 NASB) Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
(Ephesians 3:16 NASB) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;

What is life about? Is is fulfilling a long list of external requirements, gathering possessions and achieving ambitions? Or is it about growing into a certain kind of person? Is it about the outer man or the inner man? In fact what is the "inner man"?

The inner man is the place of eternity within us where all spiritual growth occurs and where we joyfully concur with the law of God.

The outer man - the physical body, and personal image and the things of the world and our outer life is "decaying" and passing away. Our outwardness, our achievements, our social status, our physical life is all going to end at the grave and pass away in weakness.

But there is an inner life - a life that can triumph even in concentration camps and in illness and which is not dependent on our outward life but which is deep, spiritual and internal. This inner life is "the inner man".
The "inner man" is our true self that is made new in Christ at conversion.

Outer things, such as circumcision have no bearing on the inner man, when it is made new.
(Galatians 6:15 NASB) For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

In fact this remaking of the self in the inner man is so radical and so deep that even Christ is not to be thought of in terms of His outward life - or any Christian.
(2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NASB) Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. {17} Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

Paul treats this at length in Philippians 3 where he calls his old life and Jewish personal and religious attainments "rubbish" compared to knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection. (Philippians 3:3-11). For Paul the inner life in Christ was the only true life, and the inner man all that matters.

The inner man is the place where we joyfully concur with the law of God (Romans 7:22). The inner man is not "born of woman" that is, of the natural, and fallen order, but is "born of God", and "born from above". Thus it is made of "eternal stuff".

The inner man is not fallen, but is an entirely new and moral creation, made in the image of Jesus Christ. Because it is born of God the inner man does not sin, nor does it desire to do so (1 John 3:9).

We glimpse our inner man from time to time and feel intensely the struggle between the inner man and "the flesh" (Romans 7, Galatians 5:16-18).

But the inner man is a bit of a mystery and is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3), and lives an eternal life that will only be fully revealed to ourselves and others at Christ's return (1 John 3:1-3, Romans 8:19-25).

Therefore it loves goodness and joyfully agrees with all that is right. In fact the inner man is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Most Christians are startled to learn this truth that their ultimate, true, deepest self is sinless.

The inner man is the "bit of us" that inherits the "in Christ" promises - such as that we are citizens of heaven seated in heavenly realms with Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). Obviously my outer man is not sitting in heaven, my outer man is in a chair in front of a computer. It is my inner man that is with God in heaven right now.

If I was to suddenly drop dead I would cease to struggle with sin, and find myself in heaven, with God, comfortable with glory and at home with holiness. My true self, my inner man, would be at home among eternal things because it is "from above", born of God, and eternal and sinless in its deepest nature.

The outer man, the self I see in the mirror, is riddled with sin and is decaying. Paul calls it a "body of death" (Romans 7;24). However the inner man is in Christ, is holy, is eternal and is being "renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Because my true inner self is holy and spiritual and joyfully concurs with the law of God there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus for our true inner selves. (Romans 8:1)

While the inner man is sinless it still needs to mature. We are to "grow up into all aspects like Him" (Ephesians 4:15) Jesus was sinless from birth but still learned obedience and was perfected through suffering (Hebrews 5:8,9) and grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:40).

Like Jesus during His time in the flesh the inner man goes through a process of growth and maturity - yet without sinning.

We start off as "babes in Christ", (just as Jesus started as a baby in a manger) and the inner man grows through absorbing the "milk of the word" and gradually moves on to "meat"" and to stronger and deeper living in Christ. The inner man is matured through trials and sufferings (Romans 5:1-5) just as Jesus was (Hebrews 5:8,9). Christ is "formed in us" (Galatians 4:19) and becomes our inner man.

The inner man is growing in Christ, and being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16) and is strengthened by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16). The inner man grows in the knowledge of Christ Jesus and especially of His love until it is perfected even to the extent where Paul says it can be said to have "the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:14-21).

Thus the true course of your life, is not at all about achieving this or that, or even about winning numbers to Jesus, for not all are gifted evangelists (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). Rather its about becoming as mature in Christ as possible, about developing your inner self into the deepest levels of Christian maturity.

At the end of the day the outer man will perish and the inner man will be all you have and all you are. Don't let it still be a "babe in Christ"!


John Edmiston


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